Online ordering has grown at a phenomenal pace over the past few years, spurred on by Covid-19 related lockdowns, as well as broader access to mobile phones and the internet across the world, that’s why your business needs a direct online ordering system. We have compared quick commerce and e-commerce before, and we’ve shared valuable insight into Saudi Arabian dining through our restaurant survey questions.
As per Statista, there was a 20% increase in e-commerce and food delivery users during 2020, which saw 760 million users relying on online orders for restaurant takeaway and delivery options. This means that online ordering growth sharply outpaced growth in dine-in traffic and quickly became the lifeline for most restaurants.
With the industry changing rapidly, restaurant owners need to adapt quickly and take the lead in predicting changes in customer demands and requirements.
Today’s consumers want convenience and highly value the ability to order online and receive their orders in a short period. Thankfully, implementing an online ordering system and the process can be a quick fix and address most customer requirements right away.
Most restaurants rely on food delivery aggregators such as Ubereats, Jahez, and Hungerstation for connecting with online customers. There is a strong realization that such platforms come with very high costs and significantly reduce restaurants’ control over customer communication and marketing.
With commission rates reaching up to 30% and such platforms also charging customers additional fees, most restaurants have started moving towards their own online ordering platforms, allowing customers to order directly from the restaurants.
The following section discusses some of the key reasons why having an online ordering system can help your restaurant grow and develop better relationships with your customers.
1. A direct online ordering system will give a Boost to Sales Growth
Naturally, having an online sales system means reaching more customers and generating higher sales. Not only that, past research confirms that customers tend to place bigger orders when placing orders online, up to more than 30% when compared to in-person or over the phone. That the edge you get in a direct online ordering system.
Having the ability to surf through a well-designed online menu means customers don’t feel rushed to place the order, can spend time deciding the food of their choice, and are inclined to place somewhat bigger orders.
As a result, not only do order volumes go up, the average order size gets bigger, customer satisfaction improves, and overall restaurant sales can see a boost of more than 30%.
2. Customer Data Ownership
The move from food aggregators to in-house online sales systems allows you to reduce costs and access valuable customer data, which can be processed into your customer management systems.
The data then enables you to understand your customer demographics, segmentation, and purchasing trends, providing you the flexibility to generate targeted marketing campaigns and develop tailored loyalty programs.
In addition, generating tailored customer experiences and giving them personalized order recommendations has proven to increase customer satisfaction and increase repeat orders.
3. Ease Of Ordering directly from an online ordering system
Having your online ordering system allows restaurants to keep their menu up-to-date and remove items that have sold out or food items they no longer sell.
A direct online ordering system allows customers to view a real-time menu rather than an old, outdated version. Saving customers from the hassle of calling restaurants and asking a million questions about food products and allergens as every detail is listed for them to view on the online menu.
Ordering becomes as easy as with just a few taps on their phones; customers can get the food they desire. Direct online order also allows customers to modify the menu by adding little notes before they check out.
Along with that, the payment process is secure and easy as customers don’t have to worry about their information leaking out and saves them from reading a 16 digit card number over the phone. The direct ordering process is easy from the beginning, starting from the menu viewing to paying and checking out; it’s all streamlined.
4. Cashless payments
In this post-pandemic world, people are more conscious about venturing outside their homes and coming in contact with people and things that might end up making them sick.
A direct online ordering system allows customers to be free of these worries as they can place their orders and pay for them on the restaurant’s app or website. Platforms like Blink let your customers pay for their order through debit and credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, and Mada.
Cashless payments ease people’s worries about cash payments and transferring viruses, including COVID-19. Not just customers but restaurant staff is also kept safe from getting sick and taking days off, leaving your restaurant in a lurch.
5. Contactless deliveries
This is another major reason why direct ordering is needed in Saudi Arabia. After living through two years of COVID-19 and its very many lockdowns, people want to be as safe as possible.
As mentioned above, online ordering allows cashless payments, making it very easy for restaurant riders to leave food orders outside the door.
Ordering online removes the need for customers to come in contact with the people delivering food, reducing the risk of catching any virus.
When ordering online and selecting the contactless delivery option on a restaurant’s app or website, customers don’t have to answer the door to get their food.
Food can be delivered by placing it outside the customer’s door and sending them a notification/message stating ‘order delivered.’ The customer can then take their order without risking any unnecessary contact.
6. Fewer Transaction Fees
Every restaurant owner has one goal: to increase their profit margins. Usually, an average restaurant runs on a 3-5% profit margin.
The only way to turn a higher profit is to increase sales and get in more customers. One sure-fire way of doing that is to make food ordering more accessible for guests via online ordering.
Now more than ever, people are turning towards online ordering as COVID-19 drives up the demand to stay in and stay safe.
Therefore, having a direct online platform, whether a website or an app, allows guests to access the restaurant’s menu and delivery service quickly.
This helps increase the restaurant’s bottom line as more and more people are looking for easily accessible ordering. What makes this beneficial is that restaurants have their own online platform and delivery service, as partnering with a third-party delivery platform like Hungerstation or UberEats means they also lose out on 30% of their profit.
Online ordering platforms like UberEats and Jahez operate on a commission fee model where they charge their clients, i.e., the restaurants and different businesses, anywhere from 20-35% for each order placed.
If restaurants have their own online ordering platform, they save up on these commission fees. If guests directly order from them, then the cost of delivery is way less than the commission fees they’d otherwise have to pay. This helps increase their sales and raises their profit margins by quite a significant amount.
7. Instant Gratification
The recent rise in popularity of food delivery services, and online ordering, has led consumers to expect all restaurants to have direct online ordering solutions.
Research suggests that up to 70% of consumers expect restaurants to provide multiple ordering and delivery solutions and, most importantly, direct ordering platforms. What previously used to be nice to have has quickly become a base requirement.
However, this is just a starting point, and it is becoming increasingly important for consumers to see a well-designed and easy-to-follow menu, which allows them to navigate quickly and place orders within a few clicks, especially when ordering from a mobile device.
As such, having one’s own website and direct ordering platform gives you the flexibility to improve the interface and design and constantly improve the ease of use for your platform.
8. Improved order accuracy
Traditional call-in or point of sale orders can be inherently inaccurate and carry the risk of dissatisfied customers if incorrect orders are prepared and delivered. Given the fast-paced environment of a busy restaurant, maintaining order accuracy can be critical and requires significant resources.
While food aggregators provided a solution in digital menus, where customers can select their orders directly, such platforms offer limited optionality to modify or amend the charges once placed.
Having a direct online sales platform puts you in direct contact with your customers, giving them the flexibility to amend orders if needed and letting you keep track of any changes with minimal effort. As a result, significant food wastage and lost sales can be avoided while significantly improving customer satisfaction.
As an added benefit, customers also get the flexibility to request personalized recipes and amend items to avoid any food allergies or match their dietary requirements. The customer needs to add a note on their order, and the kitchen can directly pick this up from the online ordering system.
9. Digital Brand Presence
Third-party platforms will always put their brand; first, they will consistently advertise their brands, and their marketing will promote their own platform. This does not help restaurants trying to flourish and make their brand known in this vastly exploding era of restaurants.
If third-party marketplaces such as Hungerstation or UberEats were to advertise, their advertisement would revolve around their brands and what they have to offer. This is known to decrease customer loyalty as people would come back to these platforms and try out newer restaurants and repeat business for restaurants would become a challenge.
However, having your own online presence and restaurant-specific website or app would mean customers would come back to check out your menu, and their loyalty would remain to you.
Having an online presence would also mean customers will check out your website before making any dine-in decisions. People are more prone to dine in restaurants with a strong online presence and can give a good idea of the dining experience online.
Giving customers a direct online ordering platform helps build brand loyalty as people are more likely to come back to your website if they know they’ll have a quick and easy time ordering from your platform.
Having your own online ordering service is a subtle reminder for the customers that it’s the restaurant providing a great order-in service rather than a third party.
Customers are more likely to sing praises about your menu and ordering services if they get a good service from your webpage/app. Word of mouth can do wonders for your restaurant when your customers tell their friends about your services, and they tell their friends.
10. Stay ahead of the competition
The mobile ordering and delivery industry is definitely expanding day by day, but research shows that no more than 5% of the restaurants offer online ordering facilities globally. This means a vast market is out there, just waiting for you to take the leap and get ahead of everybody else.
In KSA, restaurants are exploding like there is no tomorrow, so the first thing they should do after starting their business is make sure that their services are available to their customers on their phones anytime, anywhere.
As the consumer demand grows for faster and more convenient ways to order, restaurants need to invest in their own online ordering systems making sure they stay ahead of the competition.
Blink enables restaurants to have their own online websites and food ordering apps, bypassing the traditional food aggregator apps and platforms. As restaurant sales depend more and more on online ordering channels, Blink ensures that restaurants have their own digital fronts, which will help boost sales and improve profitability.
Blink allows orders to come through directly to the restaurant kitchens from the customers, eliminating the need for food aggregator apps like Hungerstation and Jahez. Restaurants in Saudi Arabia can hugely benefit from having their own online ordering platforms, especially in big cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, and Khobar, where new food delivery trends are emerging every day and delivery competition has become fierce.
Blinks quick commerce helps restaurants gather granular data on customer orders and trends. Restaurants can then eliminate inefficiencies throughout their value chain, allowing them to reduce wastage of food and resources significantly.
In this vastly digitizing age, restaurants in Saudi Arabia can use a direct online ordering platform. From the reasons given above, from customer convenience to increased revenue, having a direct online ordering system can only help restaurants grow and flourish.
An online ordering platform like Blink is now essential for restaurants and customers to enjoy a good dining experience at home or in the restaurant itself. Blink is here to help restaurants and businesses develop apps and websites as per their and their client’s demands for a better dining experience.